Shade Perennials

Gardening in the shade can sometimes seem like an impossible feat.  However, there are a wide variety of shade loving perennials that will transform your shade garden into a colourful space. 

Here are a few options for your shady site:


A showy plant that forms an upright mound of lacy leaves, produces large fluffy plumes in white, cream, rose, peach, pink, red and magenta.  Astilbes need a rich moist soil, they cannot dry out and they need to be protected from the hot afternoon sun.  A spectacular plant that makes a great addition to borders, woodlands, as a specimen or an accent.

Bleeding Heart

An absolute must for the shade garden.  There are a variety of different types but all share the same heart-shaped flowers. 

Fernleaf Bleeding Heart: forms a low clump of lacy powdery-green, blue-green, grey-green or gold leaves.  Produces small heart-shaped flowers on stems that rise above the foliage.  Long blooming, easy to grow, low maintenance plants.

Varieties: Adrian Bloom, Aurora, King of Hearts, Spring Gold, Red Fountain

Old-fashioned Bleeding Heart: forms a bushy mound of powdery-green leaves, produces tall arching stems of drooping heart-shaped flowers in shades of pink and white.

Varieties: Valentine is a newer variety that has cherry-red flowers and Gold heart is a chartreuse leaved selection with pink flowers.


A tall perennial that forms a clump of lacy green or purple-black foliage.  In late summer through fall produces tall bottle-brush spikes of fragrant white or pink flowers.  A great choice for late season interest, for cutting, or as an accent.

Coral Bells

These colourful perennials add a new dimension to the landscape, forming clumps of leaves in green, purple, brown, red, chartreuse, and black with mottling, patterns and markings. In early summer produces tall stems with sprays of bell-shaped flowers in white, pink or red.  These dramatic perennials add colour to any landscape!


Close relative of Coral Bells, foamflower forms a low clump of leaves and fluffy sprays of pink or white star-shaped flowers.  Spring Symphony is a stunning variety that produces fragrant soft-pink flower spikes over a mound of deeply cut green leaves with a purple-black star pattern in the middle.  A great choice for edging in shady sites.


These easy to grow perennials put on a spectacular display in the spring forming a clump of deeply divided dark green leaves.  Rounded flowers are produced in shade of golden yellow to orange.  A great plant for moist sites, along the edge of a pond or in a shady border. 


One of the most popular perennials for the shade.  These plants form clumps of colourful leaves in a variety of colours – blue, gold, green, variegated and textures, smooth, puckered, cupped, and twisted.  They produce lily-like flowers in shades of mauve and white.  These easy to grow, low maintenance perennials are stars in the shade garden.

Jack Frost Brunnera

This is a spectacular perennial that forms a low clump of heart-shaped frosted silver leaves that have mint-green veins.  In the spring produce forget-me-not like sky blue flowers.  An easy to grow perennial that will tolerate dry shady locations.  Other varieties of Brunnera: Dawson’s White, Hadspen Cream, Looking Glass, and Langtrees.


Bold specimen plants that form clumps of large rounded leaves and upright spikes or clusters of yellow flowers.  They come in a variety of sizes from huge to small and different foliage colours green to almost black.

Varieties: Britt-Marie Crawford, Greynog Gold, Little Lantern, Midnight Lady, Othello, Dragon’s Breath, Rocket, Little Rocket, Bottle Rocket, Osiris Café Noir.


A tall perennial that forms an upright clump of leathery deeply divided dark green leaves.  In the summer produces tall spikes of hooded flowers in purple, violet-blue, white, yellow, pink, bicoloured.  Great choice for borders, as a cut flowers or as an accent.

These are only a few choices for your shady sites.  Please refer to the Perennials for all locations brochure for a more extensive list of shade perennials.